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Salutem omnibus dico

As far as I know there were two methods known in the ancient world to silver copper alloys: either with a mercury amalgam or with silver sheet attached by soft solder. This latter method is interesting because it arouses difficulties if some more complex parts must be silvered. Objects with rectangular and regular shapes, e.g. belt plates, can be easily covered with silver sheet, but if they do not have a rectangular and regular shape, e.g. some parts of the horse equipment, it gets very hard to cover those parts with silver sheet.

I would like to get more information on this silvering method. Is there for example something known about the composition of the solder the Romans used to attach their silver sheet? What was the thickness of the sheet? I`m also interested in pictures of artefacts that has been silvered using this method in order to figure out how they folded the thin silver sheet around the more complex artefacts without a regular and / or rectangular shape.

In the attachment you can see a pendant. The silver guy must be silved with the mercury amalgam since it is almost impossible to cover it with sheet. The round part, however, seems to be silvered with several separate pieces of metal foil. At the border between two separate pieces of silver sheet, you can see a grey line that seems to be solder. This line of solder also seems to cover the place between the separate pieces of sheet to allow a nice finish since thos separate plates never join perfectly together.

I want to understand the way how they covered complex pieces with sheet by examining original finds, so, if someone has some pictures of interesting finds, I will be very grateful. I`m also interested in the answer of the two questions I asked in the second paragraph.


Well, take a look at the kops plateau face mask helmets then. I don't have the thickness details at hand now, but these mask were covered in a silver sheet mask, which seems to be made as a perfect copy of the iron mask by repousse techniques and then glued together.

See for more info 'achter het zilveren masker'.
The link I have found That`s an interesting paper! (But I`m not sure if this is the whole article; confirmation please). This method to silver such relief pieces makes sense to me.

Another complex piece to cover with sheet is a belt plate like the one in the attachment. I assume it`s an one-piece casting (correct me if I`m wrong), so you can`t silver the "plate-part" with sheet and the "hinge-part" with an amalgam and then solder it together. Unfortunately it`s very hard to find silvered artefacts like these to examine. If you take a look at the "Teutoburg belt" by Erik in the second attachment, you can see that the plate itself has been covered with sheet and that the rest of the plate, i.e. the hinge-part, hasn`t been silvered. This gives me the idea that only the plate-parts (and plates without hinge) were silvered, since it was to difficult to cover the hinge-part, frogs and buckle with sheet, but I`m sceptic about that... That Erik doesn`t do it, doesn`t mean that it wasn`t done some way during the ancient times.

In order to get some information on this problem, the Velsen buckle might be interesting since it surely has silvered plates. In the third attachment you can see the pieces of the Velsen buckle. To me the frogs seem to be silvered.

I suggest that the frogs and buckles were silvered with an amalgam. To silver the plates with a hinge, only the hinge itself was silvered with an amalgam at first, then they silvered the plate-part with sheet. The plates without hinge were just silvered with sheet, that was no problem of course. (to be clear: this suggestion is not about the Velsen belt, but describes a technique that could be used in general!)

I would like to know what people think about this suggestion. Does it sound acceptable to you? Is there something known about traces of silvering on the frogs / buckle of the Velsen belt?



Quote:The link I have found That`s an interesting paper! (But I`m not sure if this is the whole article; confirmation please).

No, these are 'just' the text panels from the exhibition about the research. You really should get the booklet published alongsite the exhibition with more details (or even better the scientific papers)
Ok, thanks! In that case I need to do some more research.

What do you (or somebody else) think about the theory I suggested in my previous post? Is it possible? Is there also a paper about the Velsen belt? There must be one, but I can`t find it.